With its fast developing economy, Brazil is one of the biggest markets for plastics in the world. Due to its rapidly growing industry, demand for plastics and plastic resins is continually growing, leading to a rising volume and value of imports.

According to data from Brazilian plastics industry association Abiplast, over the first six months of 2013 imports of plastic resins increased by 26% to $1.39 billion, up from $1.10 billion during the same period in 2012.

Imports of polyethylene from the United States recorded a dramatic rise over the period, driven by favorable prices of U.S. products . The U.S. petrochemical industry has been capitalizing on having cheap feedstock from natural gas, which gives it a competitive advantage over production from other countries.

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The amount of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) entering the Brazilian market increased by 48% to $109 million, while high-density polyethylene (HDPE) imports went up 35% to $239 million. PET imports hit a total value of $120 million, up 39%, while imports of PVC rose 19% to $306 million.

Meanwhile, exports of Brazilian resins dropped by 15.9% to $914 million over the first half of the year, compared to $1.08 billion during the same period last year.

Abiplast data also showed that the biggest share of imports — a quarter — came from Nafta member-states, excluding Mexico, while 18% was imported from the Mercosur trade bloc. Non-Mercosur Latin American countries accounted for 16% and the European Union provided 10% of imports to Brazil.